Damages Upheld by BC Court of Appeal
In December of 2013, Mike Elliott and Cody Wagner acted for Lisa Johal, a 30 year old hotel front office manager. Ms. Johal was injured when her car was rear ended by the defendant. Prior to the accident, Ms. Johal had experienced minor pain, numbness, and tingling in her right arm. As a result of the accident, Ms. Johal suffered a permanent aggravation of these symptoms as well as new soft tissue injuries to her back as well as headaches. Although Ms. Johal eventually returned and maintained full time employment following the accident, she remained limited in her ability to carry out all of her duties associated with her job position. We argued that Ms. Johal had suffered a permanent partial disability that would affect her ability to work at her current level and negatively impact her career path, including her ability to be promoted to higher paying positions. ICBC defended the case and argued that all of Ms. Johal’s problems were related to her pre-accident symptoms and that she had suffered no loss of ability to work. The trial judge accepted our argument and awarded Ms. Johal $795,570 in damages, including $85,000 for pain and suffering, $90,000 for future care, and $611,000 for loss of capacity to earn income.
ICBC appealed the trial judge’s award of $611,000 for loss of capacity and $90,000 for loss of future care. John Rice and Mike Elliott argued the matter at the Court of Appeal with Cody Wagner providing instrumental help in preparing the matter for appeal. The Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the trial judge’s award for loss of capacity while rejecting ICBC’s argument that there was “insufficient evidence before the judge to allow him to reasonably infer that there was a sufficient likelihood that Ms. Johal could achieve the positions of general manager and operations manager and so treat it as a positive contingency.” The Court of Appeal found that clearer reasons were required regarding the award for future cost of care and remitted the matter back to the trial judge for a fresh determination of that narrow issue. Read the full BCCA decision here.